11 August 2023

Pick apart the mystery being served up by Fenway Public House's new head chef Jacob Jankovic

| Claire Fenwicke
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Head chef Jacob Jankovic

Fenway Public House’s new head chef Jacob Jankovic wants to bring a bit of mystery to every dish. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Fenway Public House is taking its fans and friends on a new culinary journey, one where they hope every dish will keep you guessing.

The premier gastropub destination has secured world-class chef Jacob Jankovic to head up its kitchen to bring Canberran’s dining experiences to the next level.

Jacob has almost a decade of experience under his apron, honing his skills at Rick Stein’s Bannisters and five-star hotels in Dubai, spending 18 months training under the exacting standards at Michelin-starred kaiseki restaurant Kyoto Kitcho, and serving as senior sous chef at Matt Moran’s Rekōdo at Barangaroo House.

Now he’s chosen Canberra as the next step in his culinary journey.

“I want to set a new benchmark for Canberra, bringing it up to the standard of the thriving gastropub scenes in Sydney and Melbourne,” Jacob said.

Whenever the Jankovics returned to Australia, they would make an “annual pilgrimage” to the Snowy Mountains, usually stopping for a few nights in Canberra.

When he found out Fenway Public House was looking for a new direction, Jacob knew he’d found his new home.

“Fenway Public House has always been a watering hole of ours, and it’s just perfect timing,” he said.

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With Jacob at the helm, Fenway fans can look forward to creative twists on favourites, such as the new charcoal gnocchi with roasted zucchini, sundried tomatoes, parmesan and bacon topped with toasted pine nuts.

The menu will still feature the classics, but the venue also wanted to introduce new dishes which showcased elegance and simplicity.

“I’ll be pushing boundaries a little bit without taking away from what people actually like,” Jacob said.

“With what I’m creating and what I do, I like to have a little bit of mystery left in it … I don’t want to be like everyone else, I want to try and do something just a little bit different.”

Pan-fried duck at Fenway Public House

The pan-fried duck balances pickled tones tempered with honey alongside bursts of sharpness from the tomatoes and the fresh crunch of asparagus. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Venue manager Adrian Peters said they had always wanted to cohesively fuse gastropub charm with elegant food, and Jacob’s addition to the team meant they could escalate the experience that bit further.

“It’s giving people a ‘bonus’ with the food, giving it a more upmarket feel while keeping the classics,” he said.

“Every dish will keep you guessing.”

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I had the chance to experience Jacob’s flair for mystery first-hand, trying out an array of entrees, mains and sides before polishing it all off with a cocktail and dessert.

The Japanese influence of Jacob’s previous training comes through subtly with the coriander and home-brewed ponzu sauce across wagyu beef, and pickled tones through pan-fried duck tempered by honey.

One of Jacob’s favourite dishes is his roasted cauliflower steak with ponzu sauce, cauliflower and pea puree, shish verde, roasted cherry tomatoes, shredded noir and sesame seeds.

It’s creamy and comforting, with just enough bite to keep you guessing as you dig in for another mouthful.

Fenway Public House cocktail

Fenway Public House also has a fresh and fun cocktail list, featuring home-created concoctions and old favourites. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Don’t forget to round out your dining experience with some wine or one of Fenway’s cocktail creations.

The bar’s self-named tropical crush will have your tongue buzzing with mango and watermelon, wrapped around white rum and agave.

Fenway Public House is located along Bradley Street in Phillip, and is open for both lunch and dinner, with Jacob Jankovic’s new creations already on the menu.

You can enjoy a drink or a meal Wednesday to Thursday from 12 pm and 10 pm, Friday to Saturday from 12 pm to 12 am, and Sunday from 12 pm to 9:30 pm.

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